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Former Yahoo! executive, Senator Jeremy Ring, is sponsoring SB 468, a bill that forces Bright Futures Scholarship recipients to take two years of coding instead of a foreign language. The bill sets up a massive ready-market for vendors and denies the value of learning more than English in school. Why isn’t coding classified as a free-choice science elective?

Clearly, Ring is targeting and taking advantage of the foreign language graduation requirement to open up a market sector.  If there are so many computer science jobs available, why doesn’t Ring just let the market influence the choices of Bright Futures Scholarship recipients?  Why isn’t he comfortable with letting these specific students “vote with their feet?” Why is he forcing coding on these students and eliminating language studies for them? Is SB 468 promoting deliberate discrimination?

Forcing a specific group of students to take coding, regardless of their aptitude or interest is not appropriate. Using Bright Futures in this way allows the state to inappropriately direct and make judgments about professional choices certain students should make.

In addition, SB 468 is so poorly conceived that it fails to address the fact that universities may not be willing to drop foreign language study as an entrance requirement. Will SB 468 end up limiting the college options of Bright Futures scholars?

Ring’s bill exacerbates the fact that Florida’s A-F Accountability test and punish scheme has narrowed the foreign language offerings in schools. SB 468 will result in the firing of foreign language teachers in order to hire those who teach code. This narrows the options of all students, not just those seeking to qualify for Bright Futures Scholarships.

SB 468 by Sen. Jeremy Ring is about vendors. All Florida public school students deserve better than to be gamed into becoming consumers for a market not meant to benefit them. Once again, Ring’s SB 468 demonstrates how in Florida politics and greed always drives policy.